If a heist film doesn’t actually focus on the heist, is it still a heist film? That’s the premise of American Hustle, another one of those inspired by a true story crime capers. A pair of con artists are forced to deliver four big name criminals through their banking operation to avoid prosecution. The federal agent in charge of the mission keeps raising the stakes and changing the rules until everyone connected to the operation is in grave danger.
You watch American Hustle for the acting, not the story. The film is very dry but firmly has its tongue planted in its cheek. It’s high stakes with a totally ridiculous context and not a lot else going for it.